Surprising Findings about Stewardship

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In the year since Vanco Payment Solutions surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. Christian churchgoers about giving, we’ve been spreading the word to churches that want to improve their stewardship.

We’ve talked about the similarities and differences we found in their attitudes, beliefs, and preferences so that faith-based organizations will have a better understanding of how they can connect their members with the giving options they want.

While our findings confirmed some of our expectations, there were also some surprises that we think are especially important for churches to consider. For example:

  • We expected that younger churchgoers would be much more likely to prefer electronic giving options than senior members, and many of them do. But, the actual differences aren’t as large as you might think. The survey showed clear preferences for e-Giving among regular churchgoers of all ages.
  • A giving gap exists between how churchgoers prefer to give and the options offered by their churches. While 60 percent of respondents said they would prefer to give electronically, only 23 percent said their churches offered the option to do so. The differences are even larger for text and kiosk giving: Up to 4 times as many respondents would prefer to use those options as have the opportunity at their churches.
  • While e-Giving is often thought of as a way for absentee members to keep up with their pledges, people who participate in at least two or more church groups or activities have even higher preferences for e-Giving. They’re in leadership or committee roles (70 percent), or have children involved in activities such as Sunday school (67 percent), afterschool activities (76 percent), and youth sports (80 percent).
  • Attitudes toward giving are driven by deep emotions. Rooted in the Bible and the desire to help the church, they center on beliefs that churches do important work. Asked to choose their most important reasons for giving to their church, more than 75 percent of respondents said it was because they enjoyed helping their church, believed it was the right thing to do, and were taught by the Bible to help others.
  • There is a strong social aspect to giving to churches or other charitable organizations that makes people happy, and happy people give more frequently and more generously. Churchgoers who prefer electronic giving still like the feeling they get when they put something in the plate, and they like the connection with their community that comes with their financial support of the church’s mission. Your church can serve both needs by giving your congregation the options they want so they can decide how and when they want to give, and by providing ‘I Give Electronically’ cards or donation slips that can be dropped in the plate.

Watch our short recorded webinar that examines the surprising findings.

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